Bob MacIntyre's dad both 'over moon' and 'raging' on day he secures Masters spot
Bob MacIntyre received his dream Masters invitation on the day his dad, Dougie, was dealt a cruel hand by Mother Nature at their beloved Glencruitten Golf Club in Oban.
“They are delighted other than my dad,” said the 24-year-old, laughing, in reply to being asked about the reaction in his home town of him securing a debut at Augusta National next week through being inside the world’s top 50 following the WGC Match Play in Texas.
“He is raging today because the burn has overflown and the bridges have been swept away,” added MacIntyre of the headache that had provided for the club’s head greenkeeper. “Other than that, he is over the moon for me.”
As you would expect from the man who introduced him to golf on that very course, with the family home sitting close to the 12th tee. “It’s something he’s dreamed of for me,” said the young Scot. “It’s not just something I have wanted to create. It’s a dream my whole family and friends have given up so much to help me try and create.”
It’s mission accomplished for MacIntyre, who was reluctant to put too much focus on his hopes of making that drive up Magnolia Lane for the first time since breaking into the world’s top 50 at the beginning of February but is happy to do so now.
Helped by topping a group that included world No 1 Dustin Johnson to advance to the knock-out stage at Austin Country Club last week, the left-hander retained 44th spot in the updated rankings and, in the end, got there with a bit of breathing space.
“It’s been a long time I’ve had it in my sights,” he admitted of teeing up in the season’s opening men’s major, which will now feature three Scots as MacIntyre joins 1988 winner Sandy Lyle and Martin Laird in the line up.
“To really do it, when that letter or email comes through it’ll be unbelievable. It’s something I’ve worked hard all my life for, it’s something that not many get the opportunity to do, it’s going to be unbelievable.”
Asked if a lifetime ambition has been achieved, he added: “One hundred per cent. This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a wee kid. You watch year in year out and think I’d love to play there one day, but realistically you think, it’ll probably never happen. But I’ve put the work in, people around me have as well and it’s been rewarded.”
With a Masters berth up for grabs, MacIntyre went down narrowly to Englishman Scott Gregory in the 2016 Amateur Championship final at Royal Porthcawl. He’s already made amends for missing out on an Open spot through that by tying for sixth on his Claret Jug debut at Royal Portrush in 2019 and is now looking to make his presence felt again on another of the biggest stages in the game.
“Yeah, that is a driving force,” he said of that disappointment four years ago, with conqueror Gregory having teed up in the 2017 edition. “When you miss that opportunity, you think you’re never going to get that chance again.
“But I put everything in place to go and achieve it from the get-go when I started out as a professional golfer. From signing up with Bounce to working with Davy (Burns, his coach) and the people around me, I believed we could do anything in the game that we wanted to – with hard work and by working with the right people.
“Now we’re here and we’ve got the chance, it’s about trying to compete. As an amateur, you are there to learn and enjoy the experience, not compete. Whereas I’m going there as a professional golfer, well within my rights to be in there trading punches at the business end of the tournament.
“It’s been my dream and it’s become a reality now. I just need to go and try to achieve it. If I can play well, who knows what can happen by the end of the week?”
Left-handers, of course, have enjoyed lots of success at the Georgia venue in the last 20 years, with Canadian Mike Weir winning in 2003, Phil Mickelson then landing a hat-trick of victories in 2004, 2006 and 2010 before Bubba Watson got in on the act with a double triumph in 2012 and 2014.
“Maybe, but I need to see the golf course as you get vibes about a place,” said MacIntyre, who is aiming to link up with Lyle and the 2018 winner, Patrick Reed, in practice rounds next week, to being asked if that perhaps augured well for the current top-ranked lefty in the game.
“At Portrush for The Open in 2019, I loved the place before I went there. I’d played it in the Home Internationals and I had a good feeling before that week.
“I’ve never played Augusta before, so I don’t know what it is going to be like visually off the tee. But it’s only a game of golf. It’s just the emotions you’ve got to keep in check.”
MacIntyre is spending the next couple of days in Florida, where he has been afforded the use of the practice facilities at TPC Sawgrass, before driving up to Augusta with Burns, caddie Mikey Thomson and manager Iain Stoddart later in the week.
“I’m sure there will be emotions when it happens,” he said of that exciting drive up Magnolia Lane to the Augusta National clubhouse, “but we’ll go up there early to get that out of the way before getting down to work.
“Just try to make Augusta feel normal – that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s obviously going to be difficult, but we’re all ready to take on the week.It’s a dream becoming a reality, and hopefully this isn’t the only one I play in.”